24 Oct 2008, Posted by admin , 3 Comments

Why Exactly Are Directories Worthless?

I might be being a bit harsh in saying this – I’m sure there’s a couple of directories out there that aren’t dreadful. Dmoz is probably the best example. The Yahoo directory can give sites a boost too. The vast majority, on the other hand, are pointless.

Dmoz and the Yahoo directory can pass some decent link juice for a few reasons. They’re old, they’ve built up a lot of authority and they’ve got a lot of trust flowing to them. Because they’re so well known, they’ve got a lot of inbound links propping them up – according to Yahoo’s Site Explorer, the Yahoo directory has over 1.9 million links to it while Dmoz has in excess of 2.5 million inbound links. That is a shitload of links. Dmoz and Yahoo also get away with having a lot of weight to throw around because Google loves them, they’re great examples of what directories should be – each site submitted is manually reviewed extensively, and there’s a human element that determines whether or not a site is included. In short, if it’s a good site, it’ll get in. If it’s not, it won’t. Google loves that.

It’s the other directories that Google hates – the ones that say they’ll manually review your site but tend to have a shitload of spam in their indexes anyway. The directories that will charge you for featured listings and, in general, are clearly out to make cash instead of provide users with a usable base to navigate the web. The problem with these directories is that no-one wants to link to them. They’re so easy to see from a spider’s perspective – they’ve got more outbound links than most other sites out there, yet their inbound links are so much smaller that it’s ridiculous. They’re so easy for an algorithm to spot, and Google obviously doesn’t want them to influence it’s massive money-making index. This is why the other directories don’t really pass any weight or authority.

It’s a slightly different story with blackhat though. If you’re into linkspamming, getting 1000 directory listed backlinks to your site first will help to cover up your other links. Most other SEOs in your niche trying to find your backlinks will be using Yahoo’s Site Explorer to find who’s giving you link love, and Yahoo will only show the first 1000 links you’ve got. Make them directories, and most people won’t be any the wiser as to how you’re ranking so high.

19 Oct 2008, Posted by admin , 0 Comments

Digging Around XMCP’s Wickedfire Thread

Recently XMCP created a thread on Wickedfire to help answer some general SEO questions. By the way, if you’re going to stop off at Wickedfire and say hi, feel free – they’re good guys and they’ve got a ton of information to share on SEO, PPC, affiliate marketing and other similar stuff. If you’re going to stop off to try and spam your shitty ebooks on them, maybe you should rethink targetting a group of affiliate marketers with a sense of humour. This post is a summary of some of the more interesting points that were found in XMCP’s thread, I’ll elaborate on these points later on because they’re all quite expansive.

Blog farms – if you’ve got layers of blog farms, don’t interlink them if they’re on the same IP. If they’re spread out across a number of different IPs then you can get away with interlinking them if you do it stealthily, don’t use blogroll links and make sure you linkout to legit sites as well to disguise which site you’re trying to boost.

Bulk directory submissions – They’re useful for clouding up the Yahoo linkdomain: results (and Yahoo only shows the first 1000)

MSN is no longer using the LIVSOP tail and are using a lot more fake searches to see if your site is cloaking or not. Just so you’re all aware.

Getting links to white hat sites is obviously very tricky (especially if they’re targetted, relevant links) and one of the best way to get them is through awesome linkbait. The now infamous fake linkbait article about the 13 year old buying hookers with his dad’s credit card is testament to how much visibility and backlinks you can get if you’re creative. And don’t mind lying a bit (a lot).

If you manage to buy an aged domain with backlinks in a niche that’s related to your current site, instead of bulking out the content and linking to your related site it might be best to 301 the aged domain over to your site. Don’t just 301 it all to the homepage though, 301 the homepage -> homepage and then for individual pages, try and find related pages on your site that can be 301’d to. The aim here is to make it look a bit like you’re just updating the aged domain, and changing the content a bit.

Want to reclaim your Google images traffic? – Try breaking their frame. XMCP’s thread mentioned there was some JavaScript floating around somewhere that could do it (I just found it over at Nicky Cake’s blog). This may be enough to get you penalized, it’s a bit grey here but it’s best to hide it from Google. Be sure to put the JS into an external file, bring it in as an include and deny Googlebot from getting to the file using robots.txt.

If you use the same link building techniques for all your sites, like submitting to the same directories, commenting on the same blogs, using the same social bookmarking sites etc, it is very unlikely that you will be penalized for it. That’s something that I’ve been unsure of too. Apparantly it is possible and it’s happened before with Eli’s SQUIRT tool but for the most part you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Your best WordPress permalink is /%category%/%postname%/ if you’re trying to get your keywords in your URL.

Most WordPress category pages are either duplicate content or just full of links. You may be better off simply noindexing the category pages of your site.

There’s a whole lot more in the original thread, I’ve only selected bits and pieces. If you want to read the entire thread in full (and I suggest you do), you can find it over at Wickedfire. All props of course go to Slightly Shady SEO. If you’ve not read his blog before, you really should because it’s gold.